Yigit Bulut, a top advisor to Prime Minister Erdogan said, yesterday, that Turkey should give up its attempts to join the EU and try to increase its influence in the Middle East and other regions.
Bulut, wrote in his column in Turkish daily ‘Star’ that “the West, or the imperial order” had created a roadmap for Turks in the Ottoman and republican eras, in order to influence events to its own advantage.
The PM’s advisor thinks that Turkey is at the heart and is leader of a group that includes the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. He adds that Turkey’s prominence came “naturally” after 2006.
“Today, everything is under the control and will of the Turkish state, not the imperial powers. Within the scope of this ‘natural leadership’ in the region, I personally think Turkey will be successful in leading the new models emerging in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa and that Turkey should immediately get rid of the European Union scenarios. We’re still dealing with those who have wasted our time with non-existent road maps for the last 150 years. If there is a civilization project under way, it will emerge from the richness of our roots and history, not from the EU, which has gone into a process of dissolution,” Bulut said.
Bulut’s comments follow those of Turkey’s EU Minister, Egemen Bagis, who recently expressed doubts that Turkey would ever gain EU access because of hard-line opposition and “prejudiced” attitudes of current members. Bagis said that Turkey would have to understand that its long-held goal of gaining EU membership was unlikely to materialise.
EU accession has been an uphill struggle for Turkey. Eight of 35 chapters have been blocked since 2006 because Turkey refuses to recognise the Republic of Cyprus – which is an EU member and will not open its ports to Greek Cypriot shipping or air traffic.
In contrast, the government maintains the outward appearance of committal to joining the EU. President Abdullah Gul says that the accession process is under way despite technical issues. Speaking from New York, where he is attending the UN General Assembly, he said:
“As for the European Union, it remains a strategic goal for Turkey. Although the accession process seems to be frozen, on a technical level, things are actually moving along. And we have benefited greatly from the process, not just politically and democratically but also economically, because we’ve done a lot to make Turkey a functioning free-market economy.”